MEPs adopted a first reading agreement aiming at simplifying the EU's voluntary Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS - which helps organisations to identify, monitor, measure and report on their environmental impacts) in order to attract new participants. The new regulation aims at further attract organisations to register EMAS without harming its environmental integrity. EMAS
EMAS, the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme, is a voluntary scheme which is designed to recognise and reward proactive organisations that go beyond what environmental laws expect of them and that are constantly improving the way they interact with the environment.
Once an organisation has proved that it is improving its environmental performance according to set objectives, as verified by an independent body, it can begin using the EMAS logo. The logo is not only proof that the organisation has set up a strict programme of environmental performance improvements, but also that it respects existing environmental legislation and that its employees play a key role in the process.
EMAS came into force in 1995. In the beginning it was limited to companies in the industrial sector but the scheme's scope was widened its scope in 2001 to include public and private service providers as well as public sector organisations.
The measures to improve EMAS include (as proposed by the Commission):
- Greater promotion and support for EMAS by Member States and EU institutions to increase awareness of its benefits among organisations and citizens. This includes: financial support; fiscal measures; registration subsidies or tax breaks for registered organisations; longer permit validity and less frequent inspections by environmental enforcement agencies of EMAS-registered companies
- A harmonised system throughout the European Union with a single set of rules
- Extending EMAS to the rest of the world so that companies can use EMAS in their contacts with non-EU organisations
- Making use of the EMAS logo easier and allowing it to be more widely used
- Simplifying the legislation to make it easier to understand how the scheme works and what the obligations of EMAS participation are.
The resolution was adopted with 633 votes in favour, 13 against and 6 abstentions.
REF. : 20090401IPR53235
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